Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, will be observed as a paid holiday for Albany Law School staff members on Friday, June 19, 2020. President and Dean Alicia Ouellette made the announcement in an email to staff Thursday morning.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, and Black Independence Day, falls annually on June 19. On that day in 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, federal soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African Americans of their freedom and of a Union victory in the Civil War.
Order in hand, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ’82 and Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan ’94 also recently declared Juneteenth a holiday in the state and city, respectively. Juneteenth is said to be
the oldest celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States.
“It is refreshing, in this time of pervasive unrest and uncertainty, to work for an institution that recognizes the significance of Juneteenth and the myriad contributions to society by African Americans,” said Troy Riddle, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator at Albany Law School. “We are committed to doing the hard work required to be a more inclusive institution. And Dean Ouellette’s approval of Juneteenth as a paid holiday, and encouraging us as a community to be both reflective and engaged in finding solutions, confirms that commitment.”
Staff members who cannot take off Friday may take another day to observe and reflect on Juneteenth without charging their accrued time off.